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Leeds boss Bielsa absolves Bamford of blame for bruising Blues loss

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa refused to blame Patrick Bamford for a shock 1-0 defeat at Birmingham that has damaged his side’s hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship.

Bamford missed three opportunities at St Andrews where Che Adams struck his 22nd goal of the season in the 29th minute to lift the Blues five points clear of the relegation zone.

Bamford has now gone four games without a goal following a run in which he netted six goals in eight games, yet a defensive Bielsa said: “Bamford has a big character and personality and he was better than in the previous game.”

Overall, Bielsa was left frustrated by a result that has dropped Leeds to third, a point behind Sheffield United.

“We could have drawn the game, we could have lost by more goals and we could have won the game,” suggested Bielsa.

“The moments of the game that we were in control we couldn’t take our chances. We had a lot of time on the ball but we didn’t take advantage of the chances that we created.

“They played a type of game that is hard for us to solve, although after they scored their goal our attacking threat increased. We created chances but we didn’t score.

“We didn’t take advantage of how we played in the first-half. In the second-half the game was more complicated for us.

“In the last 20 minutes they felt comfortable in defence and attack.”

City boss Garry Monk, who was in charge of Leeds between 2016 and 2017, was naturally delighted by the tenacious display of his side who ended a run of five straight defeats.

“We thoroughly deserved the three points,” enthused Monk, who has now done the double over Leeds this season following a 2-1 win at Elland Road in September in which Adams scored both goals.

“We created the best chances in the game and should have got that second goal. It is a huge three points for us.

“The performance was very similar to the first game against Leeds when we had to be very good defensively. The difference today was that we had a much stronger performance offensively.

“Defending and offensively we were excellent. To come out with six points from the two games is testament to the players.

“Considering the run we have been on, it was great to get what we deserved. We need that in the remaining games as well.

“Even though it is a big three points and a step in the right direction there is still work to do. We need to continue with this same attitude.

“In the run we have been on we have not lost any confidence and belief and that is quite unique.”

The win came at a cost as Maikel Kieftenbeld was stretchered off with a knee problem in the 57th minute.

Monk added:  “He will have a scan and we hope it is a good one. But it doesn’t look good if I am honest with you.

“That is a real sour note for us and there was a real sombre feeling in the dressing room after the game.”